Swansea Bay GP Cluster uses Fitbits to increase patient health
A group of GPs in Swansea Bay offered Fitbits to their patients to help them become more active and improve their fitness. With training and support so they could make the most of the technology, the patients saw immediate benefits for their health.
Swansea Bay Health is made up of eight general practices working together with partners from social services, the voluntary sector, and the ABMU health board. The cluster serves over 75,000 people, many of whom are elderly (22.5%). The cluster aims to prevent ill-health and enable people to keep themselves well and independent for as long as possible.
The cluster approached DCW to see how technology could improve the health and wellbeing of patients.
Digital Communities Wales provided a number of Fitbit devices to the cluster which could be loaned to a small group of patients. DCW also devised a five week digital health course which could be delivered to the people offered the Fitbits.
The GPs identified six people who they felt would benefit from a more active lifestyle. All the participants had type 2 diabetes; half of them were over 65. They were each given a Fitbit and took part in the digital health course, which was delivered by Swansea Council’s Adult Education team, to show them how to use the Fitbits as well as a range of other online health tools and apps. The participants also heard about the National Exercise Referral Service (NERS) and were encouraged to link with the NERS service in the future.
All six participants felt that they benefited from the course and said it was extremely useful. Five people said they would use health related technology and would consider using health and wellbeing apps, wearable technology and health websites in the future. Half of the participants went on to purchase their own fitness tracker devices and most of the group said that using the FitBit had encouraged them to exercise more. The participants also felt that the digital health course had encouraged them to use technologies in different ways.